The best way to describe my arrival in Ankara is bleak. I took the Ankaray railway from the bus station to Sihhiye, and changed to the metro to Ulus, to what my guidebook described as the "beating heart of commercial Ankara". I think I was expecting a little more. Exiting the metro station, I emerged into a mini-blizzard on a wide and nondescript avenue, no trees, no nice buildings, not many signs of life apart from the cars zooming past. About 500m on, I crossed a huge junction to where a few hotels were supposed to be. I think I assumed that these hotels would be surrounded by the traditional accompaniments of cafes, restaurants and shops, but at 8pm on a Monday in the nation's capital, all was quiet. All but the dogs and the cars.
The Mithat looked promising, so I tried there first, and lo and behold, they had a room available. It was warm inside, and the bed was comfy, and apart from that I really didn't care, I had made up my mind to stay, feeling exhausted from the slowly worsening cold that had been brewing for a couple of days.
I paid 60TL for the room and breakfast, then asked at reception about somewhere to eat and whether there were any late-night pharmacies nearby. Oh how they laughed. At this time?! In Ulus?! Haha. No, I'd have to walk to Sihhiye or Kizilay, a good kilometre down the busy Ataturk Boulevard. Out in the silent streets, I felt that perhaps deciding to stay in Ulus had been a mistake, but later looking online at booking websites, hotels in more lively areas were substantially more expensive.
During the daytime, the area around the hotel is a tobacco market, busy with men buying Turkish tobacco, handfuls of cigarettes in bags not packets, cigarette rolling machines and other smoking accessories. It is busier, and leads to another busy market area across the bus-filled Opera Square, which takes you up towards the castle and Temple of Augustus areas. Walk in the other direction, and you can be in the bars and cafes of Kizilay within 20 minutes. So I suppose the Hotel Mithat is kind of central for Ankara, being geographically in the middle of the two areas of most interest for visitors, just unfortunate that it happens to be a dead neighbourhood after dark.
Unique Quality: The receptionists were friendly enough, and seemed to get friendlier and more helpful the longer I stayed. It's not the cheapest place in town, but not exactly expensive either. I found it worth paying a little extra for a room with my own bathroom, and one with proper heating, it being January and bitterly cold...many budget hotels in Turkey are not well equipped for the colder months.
Breakfast was the standard Turkish affair...olives, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, halal salami, hard boiled egg, honey and bread, all washed down with tea.
Overall I would recommend it, and actually chose to stay here on my return journey, knowing where the hotel was and knowing it was comfortable, clean and friendly.
This hotel was recommended to me by a travel guide writer, and it lives up to the recommendation. It’s nice, centrally located hotel, and has very reasonable prices. Rooms were a bit small, but were bright, clean, and in good condition; common areas, including the dining room, were pleasant. Service was fantastic, going well above and beyond what I’d expect from a hotel of this size and cost. They even wrote a follow up email thanking me for staying. This will be my go-to hotel for any future visits to Ankara.
Directions: About equidistant from the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Ethnological Museum. Not the easiest place to find, though, since it’s close to a series of multi-road intersections.
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